San Jose Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) Information

(San Jose, Costa Rica)

Although the Juan Santamaria International Airport recently lost its status as Central America's busiest air hub to Panama City's Tocumen International Airport, the facility remains the country's busiest. Most of the four million plus passengers who enter both terminals each year arrive at the popular tourist destination of San Jose, Costa Rica, via international flights.

San Jose's domestic Sansa Terminal is named after one of the Juan Santamaria International's hub airlines, while the main terminal handles all international flights, along with flights through the other resident hub airline, TACA / Lacsa. The airport bears the name of a young drummer boy who became Costa Rica's official national hero after his death in battle, in the year of 1856.

It takes no more than 20 minutes to reach centrally located San Jose from its airport. The complex is approximately 90 minutes' drive away from some of Costa Rica's most beautiful Pacific Ocean beaches and under an hour's drive from many of the country's mountains, volcanoes and adventure sport destinations.

Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO)

Address: Pan American Highway, Alajuela, Costa Rica, CR
Tel: +506 2437 2400
The Juan Santamaria International Airport welcomes direct flights from dozens of destinations across Europe and the Americas to its Pan American Highway location, west of central San Jose by 17 km / 11 miles. Surrounding suburbs include Copan, Invu las Canas, La Canada, Montserrat and San Luis.



The principal route between the airport and San Jose is known as either the Pan American Highway or the Inter American Highway. As you drive into the city, you will pass by the America Free Zone, the Zona Franca Metropolitana, Ulloa, Santander, Uruca, ICE Sabana and the Merced District. Night driving in San Jose is not recommended because of the many poorly maintained roads, missing signage and reckless local drivers.

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The airport's red-and-orange licensed taxis accept both American dollars and Costa Rican Colóns. Worth noting, taxi drivers are frequently more familiar with major San Jose landmarks than addresses, as many streets lack signage.


Alajuela to Heredia and Alajuela to San Jose are just two of the many local bus routes which regularly stop outside the airport. However, San Jose's bus system can be hard to decipher unless visitors can speak fluent Spanish. Private vans are popular alternatives to bus service.